Vision Implementation Plan


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Vision Implementation Plan

  1. 1. Team Vision Project Medina City Middle School July 19, 2006 Jeremy Brueck Jason Locher Jenni Markey In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master of education degree in educational administration at the University of Akron
  2. 2. Background The City of Medina is one of the fastest growing cities in northeastern Ohio. According to the 2000 census numbers, Medina is a community of 25,139. The population within a 15 mile radius is approximately 275,000. During the 1990’s, residential growth climbed significantly with a population change of +29.9%. Medina City Schools is made up of six elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school that recently underwent a major expansion. District enrollment has averaged approximately 7000 students for the last 3 school years with a graduation rate of about 97%. Medina’s school system ranking on the Ohio Department of Education's Annual Report Card has ranged from Excellent to Continuous Improvement over the past 3 school years. Data Analysis The Medina City Middle School Leadership Team realized that data was the key to continuous improvement in our school. We used data to provide insight into student achievement and focus the goals and expectations of our vision. When developing the vision for Medina City Middle School, we focused on two measures of data which we felt were the most significant, demographic data and student learning data. Demographic data was the first type of data we collected and evaluated. We wanted to get to know and track the different student populations at Medina City Middle School. By doing this, we hoped to identify and clarify each community’s problems and needs. From our demographic data set it was easy to see that the most vital data was static in nature and dealt mainly with ethnicity and economic status. The overwhelming majority of our student population, over 90%, is white. Our most
  3. 3. significant subgroup, economically disadvantaged students, comprises approximately 8% of the student population. As we got to know our student population, we agreed that it would be important to keep all of the communities in our school in mind as we were crafting our vision. Lashway (1997) reinforced this ideal when he said, “A good vision not only has worthy goals, but also challenges and stretches everyone in the school.” Student learning data was the most important type of data we focused on when crafting our vision statement. We concentrated on data from our 6th grade reading and math proficiency results for the 02-03, 03-04 and 04-05 school years. As we looked at the proficiency results, we were able to uncover a number of relationships between it and our demographic data. The leadership team was able to conclude easily that our white population performed at higher levels of proficiency than our economically disadvantaged population. We knew that bringing this subgroup up to the state minimum passage rate should be foremost in our minds as we set out our vision for the future. At the same time, however, our white population was hovering dangerously close to the minimum passage rate of 75% on the 6th grade reading proficiency assessment. In 02-03 and 03-04, the passage rate for white students was at or slightly above 78%, just 3 percentage points above the state minimum. While passage rates improved to 82.3% the following year (04-05) we recognized how important it was for that upward trend to continue as we crafted our vision of high academic achievement for all students. Another area of student learning data that we felt was critical to examine dealt with similar districts. That data set showed an upward trend in achievement on the 6th grade reading proficiency assessment for similar districts, and we were encouraged by the fact that the trend was mirrored by our students; however, we were still concerned by how close we remained to the minimum passage rate
  4. 4. established by the State of Ohio. Additionally, while the passage rate of Medina students was less than 1% lower than the average of similar districts in both the 02- 03 and 03-04 school years, the gap increased to more than 2% in the 04-05 school year. This change did not cause significant alarm, but we agreed to monitor this particular trend over the course of the next two years to see if the gap we identified continues to increase, remains the same, or reverses. The final student learning data set we analyzed was a proficiency comparison of our student populations from 4th grade to 6th grade. In both reading and math, our white community showed consistent results between the school years examined, maintaining a level of proficiency above the minimum passage rate. In stark contrast, the economically disadvantaged subgroup showed a sharp drop in proficiency from 4th to 6th grade in both reading and math, while falling significantly below the state’s the minimum passage rate. Vision "Medina City Middle School aspires toward academic excellence and is committed to high levels of achievement for all students." Conclusion Utilizing multiple measures of data, the Medina City Middle Schools Leadership Team carefully created a vision statement which reflects of the goals of the organization. The team concluded that the goals of academic excellence with high levels of achievement for all communities within the student population concisely defined our vision. The team’s decisions were firmly based on careful analysis of demographic and student learning data. With a clear and compelling vision before us, the entire organization can begin to develop strategies for continous school improvement.
  5. 5. Implementation Plan Reflection The Medina City Middle School Leadership Team created an Implementation Plan in an effort to facilitate coordination of the district vision and to streamline communication between internal and external stakeholders. The Implementation Plan provides an avenue for Medina City Middle School to engage in an inclusive and comprehensive planning process as opposed to multiple disconnected planning processes. The result of this plan is an integrated and systemic effort by the Building Leadership Team to address the needs of all students as outlined in the Ohio Academic Content Standards. The Implementation Plan was designed to include all stakeholders in building a guide to ensure that all students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, income status, Special Education or English language proficiency, show continuous academic growth and attain high standards of learning. The planning process accomplishes this task in several ways. First, the plan is an on-going process driven by student needs. Second, the plan provides a means of staying on course throughout the implementation activities by utilizing evaluative measures that can inform future activities and provide direction in refocusing the vision, if necessary. Although the Leadership Team’s planning took into account the nature of Bolman and Deal’s structural, human resource, political and symbolic frames, both facilitators and barriers to successful implementation of this plan exist. There are a number of facilitators which can contribute to successful implementation. In the structural frame, the month-by-month graphic organizer which outlines the plan provides stakeholders with a visual representation that allows them to clearly see where they fit into the organization as a whole. This visual representation also carries over into the human resource frame as it helps a visionary leader clearly communicate their vision to internal stakeholders.
  6. 6. The outline of the plan also serves as an aid when it comes to planning and distributing work responsibilities and allocating resources within the structural frame. This outline can not only assist the leader in distributing work, but it also can work within the human resource frame to clearly define and lay out responsibilities for each individual in the organization. One aspect of the implementation plan that fits within Bolman and Deal’s political frame deals with the evaluative portion. This measure allows leadership to monitor and adjust the implementation plan with short term modifications to keep the organization on track. However, for this to be effective, outlining the plan for all stakeholders at the beginning of the year and explaining that there is room built into it for adjustments is crucial. By making adjustments as needed, a leader can avoid potential political backlash from staff members, parents and community members who might be unhappy with any number of situations which can arise during the school year. The final facilitator to this plan deals with the symbolic frame. Simply stated, this implementation plan makes you transparent as an administrator. It clearly and concisely tells people your plan. When you put all the information out in front of your stakeholders, people don’t have to guess about you or your goals, which can ease the anxiety of your staff and help to solicit buy-in. This idea of being transparent in your plan and ideals is backed up by Christenson & Walker (2004) when they say that “one of the most significant contributions that any leader can make to an organization or project is that of creating and clearly communicating a shared vision.” Even with all the careful planning and attention to all four of the organizational frames, barriers to successful implementation still exist. Most often, these barriers also fall within a specific frame, so to eradicate the problem, the leader needs to identify which frame they are dealing with and take actions which
  7. 7. are appropriate for that particular frame. Time constraints to implementation seem to be the greatest barrier to success and fall within the structural frame. When new leadership comes into a situation with a visionary plan of action, some people have difficulty adapting quickly to the proposed changes. Existing interest groups and coalitions tied to the political frame within the organization can also present barriers to implementation of the plan and achievement of the vision. New leadership with a new vision and a plan to attain it, can lead to feelings of disempowerment. Once the plan has been outlined, there can also be conflict between those groups and coalitions which view themselves as “winners” and “losers.” If problems like these arise, it is important for the leader to create new arenas where the conflicts can be renegotiated and new coalitions which are productive to achieving the organization’s goals can form. Finally, getting people to see where they fit into the plan and commit to helping achieve the organization’s goals can be a barrier to success. This barrier is clearly linked to the human resource frame. Aligned closely to this barrier is getting people to buy-in to the vision and plan, although it falls more within the symbolic frame. When leadership decides to change things in the organization, both internal and external stakeholders can experience a loss of meaning and purpose. They will often cling to the past, which causes conflict and strife in the organization. Bolman and Deal suggest one way to combat this barrier is to create transitional rituals which mourn the past, while celebrating the future. The Medina City Middle School Leadership Team worked diligently to design a comprehensive implementation plan to move the school towards achieving their vision. While some barriers to success exist, the team analyzed the plan and built in a variety of evaluative measures which work within Bolman and Deal’s four organizational frames. These measures will help to facilitate the changes which are necessary to move Medina City Middle School forward as they aspire toward
  8. 8. academic excellence and commit themselves to high levels of academic achievement for all students.
  9. 9. References Christenson, D. & Walker, D. (2004). Understanding the role of “vision” in project success. Project Management Journal 35 (3), 39-52. Lashway, Larry. (1997). Visionary Leadership. Retrieved June 28, 2006,